“The preacher who does not mix with people will never make much of a preacher;” at least that has been said or thought by many. One thing needs to be understood by many preachers of the 21st century; if a preacher has been called by God to preach the Word of God, then we just do not make our lives, or build our lives around social activities, nor what the people may expect of us. The preacher is God’s preacher, not man’s smooth talking, easy listening, socially active, friend to everybody servant.
Rantings of a mad preacher? Maybe. My reading today was from Jeremiah 11 – 24, and I guess I noticed some things that got a fire burning. Jeremiah is one of my favorite Prophets of the Old Testament to read, study, and I have rarely preached from the book.
In my title I call it “The Unsocial Prophet” for a couple of reasons. Jeremiah was a man called by God from a family of priest to be a prophet to the nation of Judah; during the days when Josiah was king, then his son Jehoiakim, and finally the king Zedekiah when Jerusalem was carried away captive by Babylon.
Why I call him “The Unsocial Prophet”. One of the things God says to Jeremiah is “Do not pray for this people”.
“For thus saith the LORD, ‘Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away My peace from this people,’ saith the LORD, ‘even lovingkindness and mercies.’” Jeremiah 16:5 (KJV)
The people of Judah have refused to listen to the Word of the LORD through the prophets He has sent; they have violated the land in not giving them their sabbath rests every seven years, they have violated the weekly sabbaths by continuing to do business, conducting deals and selling as on the other six days, and they have brought idols into their worship, and continue to act in worship to Jehovah/YHWH.
The prophet is sad concerning the plight of his people (9:1), however, his sadness is because they have forsaken the LORD. He knows that God’s plan for them is the best plan for them. He is even attacked and hated by his own family, and people. Another reason I call him “The Unsocial Prophet” is;
“Thou shalt not also go into the house of feasting, to sit with them to eat and to drink. For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; ‘Behold, I will cause to cease out of this place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride.’” 16:8
The prophet is to be an influence to the people; not letting the people influence him. He is to be led by the Spirit of God, His Word, and not the social activities of the day.
Let me give a clear Biblical definition of a “Prophet”. The prophet of God is a preacher, an expositor of God’s Word. He is first and foremost a student of Scripture; a man of prayer; an obedient servant of God. He proclaims what God declares to Him, and then proclaims it to the people. That in itself can make him an enemy to the people. Who is going to invite a guy like this to their parties, or even to preach their funerals, or invite him to mourn with them? In the last verse above we see that God tells Jeremiah that joy and gladness will cease.
Men and women are so deceived today. Even professing Christians live as though any belief is okay as long as you believe something; have faith in something; as though “faith” is all you need. There is only one way to approach God according to His Word, but the heart of men have devised alternative ways which lead to death and destruction. These are other gods, false gods, which lead to death.
God spoke to Jeremiah saying,
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” 17:9
You can continue believing as you believe, contrary to God and His Word, and you will receive the just judgment of God. “According to the fruit of his [your] doings” you will receive all that you have coming to you.
Many of the people of Anathoth hated Jeremiah because of his preaching. They plotted against him to do him harm, but God’s hand of protection was on him (1:19);
“Then said they, ‘Come, and let us devise devices against Jeremiah; for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet. Come, and let us smite him with the tongue, and let us not give heed to any of his words.’” 18:18
Jeremiah even says that the problem of Judah is due to the smooth talking false prophets who had the hearts of the people;
“Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; ‘Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.’” 23:15
Pastors and preachers of today need to hear the Word of the Lord. Stand and preach the word, not the desires of the hearts of the people. It is not a popular opinion that matters to the preacher of God, but rather a saved, cleansed, pure live that will glorify God. God is the center of the preacher’s preaching. Are you afraid of being called “unsociable”? Would it not be better to be deemed “unsociable” by the masses than to be deemed an unholy, false preacher by God? And receive the judgment that comes from God for such activities?
Most of this post today seems somewhat negative, but I pray instructive, correcting, and guiding to many who read it. There is hope and encouragement within what I read today. Hear the encouragement of God’s Word –
“Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is His name whereby He shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.” 23:5-6
“For I will set mine eyes upon them for good, and I will bring them again to this land: and I will build them, and not pull them down; and I will plant them, and not pluck them up. And I will give them an heart to know Me, that I am the LORD: and they shall be My people, and I will be their God: for they shall return unto Me with their whole heart.” 24:6-7
The hope for Judah and Israel is THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS; and that is none other than the Messiah who was to come, and give His life a ransom for many, and then return one day and establish His eternal kingdom. The people of Judah will return to the LORD with their whole heart. Because of Jesus their is hope for all have a “wicked heart”, and that is all of us. “There is none righteous, no not one” (Romans 3:10) “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). However Christ died for our sins. Trust Him, and believe.
-Tim A. Blankenship